The Bible on Tattoos – Can Christians get tattoos?

Tens of Thousands, if not millions, of Christians have tattoos.

Although Christians believe that the Bible is the word of God, many Christians feel that that Old Testament is largely irrelevant since the coming of Jesus Christ.

Hence, they aren’t too concerned about, for example, Leviticus 19:28:

Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.
Leviticus 19:28

Is it about Tattoos? Almost definitely.

But there are so, so many laws in the Old Testament that seem ridiculous now, very many of which aren’t followed by Christians. You either follow all of them, or you don’t.

So can Christians get tattoos? Obviously, Christians can do whatever the hell they want, if they aren’t taking the Bible literally or following all the rules. But that makes Christian tattoos a little bit hypocritical, doesn’t it?

If you want to get technical about it, the second commandment reads “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.”

So when you tattoo a portrait of Jesus on your body, you’re really breaking two rules.

And when you think about it, the vast majority of people who get tattoos do so for their own vanity, because they think it looks cool. Sure they want to get something meaningful that confirms and broadcasts their faith…

But they probably also admire their new tattoo in the mirror and post pictures on Facebook to show how bad-ass they look.

And drawing a picture of a guy who was tortured and crucified to save you is a little twisted… kind of like a Nazi getting a tattoo of a gassed Jew.

The perfect Atheist Tattoo

But what about an atheist or non-believer who wants a tattoo? How can he find something exceedingly meaningful (or anti-meaningful?) I’ve been looking for a good arm tattoo for awhile; I think I’ve found it.

It’s cute, because with this tattoo people will assume I’m Christian… until they go and look up Leviticus 19:28 and see that it forbids tattoos – which means I’m deliberately and knowingly referring to and violating this biblical command at the same time.

It’s different from any other tattoo that just accidentally breaks the rule.

It’s different from any “pro-science” or “anti-religion” tat like an upside down cross, or Satan.

It’s playfully blasphemous.

 Do you have a religious (or anti-religious tattoo?) Do you think Christians should get tattoos done?

  • MadMarchHare3

    <—–That's my tattoo on my leg. The design has an interesting history. It started as a Buddhist symbol representing the Three Noble Truths and the cyclic existence of life, or samsara. Then the design traveled down the Silk Road and has been found on Muslim artwork, Egyptian pottery, then finally winding up on church motifs in the British Isles representing the holy trinity (what's with religions and the number 3 anyway?) . I got it because I like hares and the connecting ears made me think of Escher. I didn't find out about the other crap until after I got the tattoo, but felt it ironically appropriate.

    • Derek Murphy


  • Christopher Allen

    My view of the tattoo issue is a bit different than yours,
    I believe it is forbidding people from getting remembrance tattoos, though I do agree with your interpretation of the 2nd commandments in regards to tattoos of say Christ or the heavens….

    I believe that if you do get scriptural tattoos like a baptism the are an out ward symbol of what’s already inside..

    You a decorating a temple do it with taste..